March 26, 1999
Rancho San Diego The memory of Sergio Luis Santana continues, thanks to his sister's donation of an inscribed bench at Cuyamaca College. Patricia Santana said Sergio's bench is nestled between two trees in the grassy area near the library. Santana, a Spanish instructor at Cuyamaca for seven years, loves the college and values her large family of four brothers and four sisters.
She decided to honor her brother and also help the college with her donation of a cement bench dedicated in his memory. She established the bench in 1997, less than a year after Sergio died from a heart attack at age 47. He was a Vietnam veteran and returned to this country a changed man with emotional problems that he battled for nearly 30 years. Santana recently completed a novel on her brother's life and how his mental illness affected the family.
Santana decided to donate during the last drive for funds for benches and picnic tables by the Cuyamaca College Foundation. A memorial is only one reason people choose to inscribe their name or logo for posterity.
"This project is a perfect opportunity for the community to help our current students while permanently commemorating a loved one, your businesses or a special organization," said Dr. Sherrill Amador, Cuyamaca College president. The college's growing enrollment has made finding a bench in the sunshine difficult and, at times impossible.
Dan Conaway, foundation member and El Cajon attorney, echoed the practical side of providing more seating for people to enjoy the college. "Cuyamaca is an excellent resource for our community. We're bringing more and more visitors to campus due to the college's academic and athletic potential, its beautiful campus and buildings and the variety of special events offered every year."
The project is a win-win situation for the college and for business owners and individuals in the community said Paul Cable, foundation president and senior vice president/CFO, Valle de Oro Bank. "An individual or business owner who donates to this project will see a direct benefit and a real physical contribution of what their dollars do for the college. For business owners, seeing their logo and name on a table or bench gives them recognition and exposure that is great for any business. It benefits the school which has no budget to buy the needed tables and benches."
The Cuyamaca College Foundation plans to add 12 more benches and 5 picnic tables. Individuals, families, groups, departments and companies can participate. Up to three lines of text or a logo can be inscribed on the bench or table. Benches are $225 and a picnic table is $700.
"Our family was always close-knit and Sergio was our first sibling to die," said Santana. "I wanted to honor him and the service he gave our country. I thought what a great way to pay tribute with memorial where I work everyday."